Editorial Feature

AI and Its Use in Photography


Artificial intelligence technology has reached a point where it is disrupting many fields, including photography.

AI-infused photography and photo-editing programs are wither now available on many mobile devices, or soon will be. Rather than focus on adding more megapixels, the most fascinating innovations in smartphone photography are because of machine learning algorithms, which are making our photos and selfies better than ever. In a recent blog post, Google showed how its AI-powered photo editing technology was able to edit photos to the point that professional photographers rated them as professional or semi-pro quality.

Portrait mode

One of the most striking examples of AI in photography right now can be seen in 'portrait mode'. For the last few years, some phones use dual rear cameras to detect depth. Then, state-of-the-art machine learning is used to automatically blur the background, emphasizing the subject.

The result is AI technology producing some truly spectacular images, even for bad photographers. Experts have said the evolution of this technology could allow for a portrait mode function that uses only one camera, as machine learning algorithms will soon be able to pick the subject out of an image without the use of depth information from a second camera.

“Zoom and enhance”

If you’ve ever watched scripted police shows like CSI, you’ve probably see characters try to identify a suspect on a grainy video through a function called ‘zoom and enhance’ – where a program zooms in on a person in the video and magically makes their face visible.

Until recently, this function was impossible because a computer cannot get more detail than what was in the original source material. But now, Google has developed an AI system that can recreate facial images from highly-pixelated source material. The system uses one neural network to map the source image to low-quality versions of other, similar high-resolution imagery and another neural network adds details to the source image by analysing a large volume of other similar images.

While the results of Google’s system aren’t perfect, its enhanced images of celebrity faces have compared favourably to regular non-upscaled, hi-res images of those same faces.

Photo editing

Anyone who has tried to erase a tattoo or move a person across an image using Photoshop knows it can be a painstaking process. According to Adobe, it is currently working on an AI-powered version of Photoshop that can pick out objects in an image and allow a user to edit them with basic clicks and drags.

The company is also working on using AI to allow users to improve the quality of pictures taken with their smartphone camera. Smartphone cameras use a wide-angle lens that is great for landscape shots but can cause unflattering distortions in portraits. According to Adobe, an AI system currently in development will allow users to modify their images so that they appear to have been taken with a telephoto lens.

Fake images

Fake photos have been around as long as photography and AI is going to make fakes even more convincing.

Generative adversarial networks, or GANs, are a new type of neural network that can quickly produce fake images based on machine learning and a massive database of images. A GAN is comprised of two networks, a “generator” and a “discriminator”.

The generator studies real images in order to learn how to make more convincing fakes. Fake images produced by the generator are then passed to the discriminator, which rates each fake based on how realistic it appears. As time passes, the generator “learns” how to make more and more convincing fakes, while the discriminator gets better at sniffing out fake images.

While the prospect of more-convincing fake imagery seems like an ominous development for the rise of ‘fake news’, it would mean a more realistic experience for video game players and movie goers.

Disclaimer: The views expressed here are those of the author expressed in their private capacity and do not necessarily represent the views of AZoM.com Limited T/A AZoNetwork the owner and operator of this website. This disclaimer forms part of the Terms and conditions of use of this website.

Brett Smith

Written by

Brett Smith

Brett Smith is an American freelance writer with a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Buffalo State College and has 8 years of experience working in a professional laboratory.


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  1. The Casinoverse The Casinoverse Ukraine says:

    I found this very useful

The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of AZoRobotics.com.

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